Born in the seaside town of Oeiras near Portugal’s capital Lisbon, 30-year-old designer Gonçalo Campos has acquired international recognition. Gonçalo tells ArchiExpo e-Magazine about his story:
In 2008 he was invited to participate in the exclusive group of young designers at Benetton’s design think tank, Fabrica, in Italy, established in 1994. There, Gonçalo got a taste for design through travel and experience beyond the textbook.
“Fabrica is indeed a very special place. We get to learn a lot from the design world that is beyond our college education. It completely opens your mind and senses towards new possibilities,” he says.
Such an adventure may be at the root of why the young designer bounces from city to city, soaking up design culture:
“I like to get to know different markets, exhibitions and professionals.”
Currently based in Paris, Gonçalo has lived in numerous cities, including London, Porto and Berlin. He doesn’t usually stay for long in any one location, hinting that Eastern Europe might be his next move.
Such global experience and vision gave Gonçalo a clearer view of the importance of design today in Portugal. He feels optimistic:
“Thanks to my work with Wewood, I can say I am very much in the frontline when it comes to the interaction between designers and businessmen. Portuguese companies are becoming more interested in working with design professionals. As a small country where export is the only way a local company can really grow, businessmen know that design is vital for the growth of their companies.”
Gonçalo also has some valuable advice for young aspirants in this field:
It is vital that designers adapt to the reality of the market before trying to impose our own concepts of reality. This requires time and extensive dialogue.
Exemplifying the Designer’s Hand
Gonçalo designed the Metis table and the XI Bookshelf for Wewood, a Portuguese furniture company specializing in solid wood. Formerly a frequent design partner, Gonçalo now works as Wewood’s design director.
Wewood’s idea for the Metis table was a desk with integrated storage space. Gonçalo then decided to angle the drawer front, making access easier, and to chamfer the desktop to make it more comfortable for the wrists. Small details, big difference. And a hinged compartment with a secret drawer is included!
No screws or glue are needed to assemble the perfectly interlocking boards of the XI Bookshelf. The “X” bracing provides stability, while the slanted “I” allows for longer shelves. Since putting each component in the right position can be complicated, Gonçalo came up with a neat solution: engrave the instructions on the components themselves.
No more lost assembly instructions.
The designer worked for recently launched French company Polit to bring his Times 4 coffee table to life. Storage doesn’t always have to mean drawers, and Gonçalo wanted to try something different. The top of the round table covers only three quarters of the surface, the cutout revealing an internal Lazy Susan that provides storage.
Changing the way things function is fun.
It does not always work, but this time it did.